Wednesday, January 7, 2015

7 Tools for Blogging That I Can't Live Without

It's hard to believe it but +Tea for Me Please turned six this year. Blogging can be a lot of work but it's also very rewarding. These are a few of the tools that I find absolutely indispensable to keeping the blog running while maintaining my sanity (most of the time). I know a lot of my readers are also bloggers, tea or otherwise. Is there a great tool that I missed? Let me know about it in the comments!

Hootsuite
Keeping up with social media is always a challenge. Hootsuite enables me to view Twitter, Facebook and Google+ all in one easy to navigate screen. I can schedule posts, run Twitter searches and keep tabs on whatever is important at the moment. There are some really big names who use this service. Check out their blog post on how David's Tea uses it to achieve a high customer service satisfaction rate. When I'm doing social media freelancing, I rely on the pro version but the free version will work just fine for most bloggers.

Canva
I have zero artistic abilities so making graphics for the blog has always been a bit of a struggle for me. Canva is a free and simply tool that makes it way too easy to do everything that I need to do. They have templates and graphics galore. You can pay to use their stock images or use your own for free. I use it to do everything from my social media headers to my podcast episode thumbnails.

IFTT
If This Then That is a service that makes social sharing a breeze. Users can create recipes where the selected triggers will cause a selected action. For instance, whenever I publish a new post to Blogger it is automatically shared on my Facebook page, Twitter and Tumblr. It's also helpful for backing up information. I have all of my Instagram pictures sent to my Flickr account so that they will be saved there.

ThingLink
ThingLink is a nifty tool that enables to me to create interactive image maps. First, I make the image in Canva. Then all I have to do is upload it, insert my links and embed it into a blog post. Personal accounts are free. A ThingLink logo is included in your image but there are no view limits.

FreshBooks
I do some freelance consulting work from time to time. FreshBooks makes it easy to invoice clients, accept payments and keep track of records. I use a free account for now which limits you to 3 clients.

Google Keep
You never know when inspiration for the next blog post will strike. I use Google Keep to take notes, make lists and stay organized. I love that I'm able to use it both on the web and on my phone. You can also set reminders and snap pictures to save for later.


PodBean
Last year I wanted to start a podcast but had no idea how to deal with the technical aspects of it. Putting episodes on YouTube isn't difficult but in order to get my videos into the iTunes store I needed to use a hosting service. PodBean is inexpensive and easy to use.